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Anthocyanin: The Compound That Turns Cannabis Purple

marihuana púrpura

Anthocyanins are a group of water-soluble plant pigments that, depending on the pH, give some plants a blue, black, red, or purple color. They belong to a parent class of molecules called flavonoids, which contribute to the color and flavor of cannabis and many other fruits and vegetables, such as blue and dark berries, plums, red cabbage, and eggplant (aubergine).

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What Is Anthocyanin?

Anthocyanins, aka anthocyans, are water-soluble vacuolar (a type of plant cell) pigments. They are flavonoids, and, like many other flavonoids, they have significant anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Most red, purple, and blue-colored flowers, fruits, and vegetables contain anthocyanins.

Cannabis and Anthocyanins

Anthocyanins are found in cannabis, with some strains (cultivars) containing more pigment than others (e.g., Granddaddy Purple, Purple Diesel). Cannabis growing in colder temperatures (e.g., if it regularly drops below 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night) tend to display more purple anthocyanins. This is because cold breaks down chlorophyll (which is green) and allows anthocyanins to become dominant.

Potential Health Benefits

Anthocyanins have displayed several potential therapeutic and medicinal benefits, including:

Note that it’s not likely that people smoking marijuana will reap the full benefits of anthocyanins as combusting and smoking cannabis causes the degradation of its compounds. However, you can still gain some benefits and take advantage of the full spectrum of cannabis compounds by making edibles or tinctures out of them.

The other way to take advantage of anthocyanins is by eating fruit and vegetables high in the flavonoid. Examples of anthocyanin-rich foods include:

  • Açaí berry
  • Blackcurrant
  • Aronia (chokeberry)
  • Raspberry
  • Blueberry
  • Redcurrant
  • Cherry
  • Dark-colored grapes
  • Red cabbage
  • Purple corn
  • Black rice
  • Black soybean

And, while not a food, some red wines are shown to have a small amount of this flavonoid. Some anthocyanin supplements on the market claim to be filled with anthocyanin-rich extracts. While they may be helpful, getting your daily dose from whole foods is best.

Popular Purple Cannabis Strains

Popular cannabis strains (cultivars) that don purple anthocyanin pigments include:

  • Purple Haze
  • Granddaddy Purple (GDP)
  • Mendocino Purps
  • Grape Ape
  • Purple Urkle
  • Blackwater
  • Purple Kush
  • Sour Grape
  • Purple Afghani
  • Candyland
  • Tropicana Cookies
  • Purple Skunk
  • Black Cherry
  • Blueberry
  • Purple Punch
  • Hawaiian Purple
  • Purple Berry
  • Obama Kush
  • Lavender
  • Lavender Jones
  • Purple Diesel
  • Purple #1

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is purple weed better than green weed?

The anthocyanin content alone will not give you much information about the quality of the cannabis. Many people like the purple, red, blue, or orange hairs on cannabis, as it can look attractive and give a clue as to the strain’s flavor.

For example, many purple cannabis varieties contain the terpene linalool, which is a relaxing terpene found in lavender plants. Many people find purple varieties relaxing or sedative, but this is not always the case. So, when it comes to which is better, green or purple, this is very much down to personal preference.

Is purple cannabis more potent?

No evidence suggests that purple cannabis buds or leaves signify increased potency. Green cannabis can be just as potent as purple cannabis.